April 2013: Chesapeake Duck Race, Great Bridge Lock Park & Tram Tour of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and False Cape State Park

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Sasha coming home from school with a giant Star Wars book from the school library in her arms.  Sasha's teacher has a secret admirer at our house.

2013 Chesapeake Rubber Duck Race

Anya does some bouncing

Checking out the Dazzle Ducks

Story time with the Sheriff

10 Little Ducks!  The kids got free duck whistles to tweet during the story.

Checking to make sure our duck was in the race.  We were sure our little guy was gonna win us that new car!

Dock Ring Toss

Grabbing prizes from the toy chest

Bean bag tossing

Story time with the Mayor.


The toy prize for this story was a free school bus.


The crane lifts the ducks

Swings 'em over the river

And dumps 'em in

Race Duckies!  Race!

Is our duck in the lead?  He was not.  No free car this year.  :(

Great Bridge Lock Park.  Down the river a bit from where the Duck Race is staged, there are a series of locks where the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, coming up from North Carolina, meets the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River.  There is a park there that we have not played in before, so we had to check it out.

Anya in a field of clover

This 19-acre park, a small peninsula surrounded by the canal on one side and the river on the other, has a playground, the locks which are fun to watch and a foot-trail along the north shoreline and through the wooded western portion of the park.


Here we are making our way to the point.

Then at the point

posing for a few pictures

On our way back we saw this weird Mark Twain looking boat putter by and Sasha displays bravery by venturing out on a fallen tree over the water.

I've always wanted to go on the Back Back National Wildlife Refuge Tram ride at False Cape State Park.  So in  Sunday we finally did it!

In the 1800s, False Cape gained a reputation as a shipping graveyard. The area got its name because its land mass resembled Cape Henry, luring boats into shallow waters.

One of the area's first communities, Wash Woods, was developed by survivors of such a shipwreck. The village's church and other structures were built using cypress wood that washed ashore from the wreck.

From the turn of the century until the 1960s, False Cape was a haven for a number of prestigious hunt clubs, which took advantage of the area's abundant waterfowl. The park's Wash Woods Environmental Education Center is a converted hunt clubhouse.


A 1966 study of Virginia's outdoor recreation resources recommended that a substantial ocean beachfront be made available for public use on the Atlantic Ocean south of Virginia Beach. The development of the park began with the purchase of approximately 4,300 acres of land.

This is a scenic stop along the way


A picture back toward the tram

I thought these many have been baby Loch Ness Monsters, but Anya assured me that they were "just ducks."

At the visitors center the kids got to touch dead stuff

Anya was excited about all the cool skulls and stuff

Here's a leatherback turtle.  They lay their eggs on the beaches ay the refuge.

Looking at more of the indigenous stuff.

Back on the tram

This was a walking part of the tour out to the site of the of Wash Woods Church and Cemetary

Our guide was amazing.  He talked non-stop for 4 hours telling us the history of the area as well as interesting stories and lore.

Here he is in some of the garb of the period.

At the cemetary

Turn of the century tomb stones.

The moss made it extra creepy.  Even at mid-day.

Click on this picture and look at the big version.  It is a beautiful photograph that I accidentally took.  Marvel at the reflection and composition.

We saw a Brown Mud snake out sunning on the rocks at this stop.


Anya points the way


Ready to head back Anya?

On the way back the road is blocked by a hissing  water moccasin.  Everybody hopped off the tram to ogle and antagonize it.

We saw this turtle on our search for a picnic spot.

We decided to eat here, overlooking the bay.

Surrounded by turtles and poison vipers.




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